BAE Systems today launched a long-term partnership with the University of Southampton, worth at least £1.25 million over the next five years.
This collaborative partnership between the UK’s largest defence manufacturer and the leading British engineering institution at Southampton is the second of four such partnerships to be pursued by BAE. The first, with Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh was announced at the end of June and was covered by TM in the story ‘BAE: Mainstay for Maritime’. The next two institutions to be favoured by BAE will be announced in the course of the next 12 months.
BAEs intention to sign the four Memorandums of understanding with Britains foremost maritime engineering higher education centres forms part of the company’s Skills2020 strategy, in which the organisation takes on responsibility for providing stability and growth potential for itself but also its broader supply base. The aim of the strategy is to invest in the skills needed to remain competitive over the next decade and beyond. At least £5m have been made available for this purpose.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Southampton builds on existing links between the two organisations and will involve reciprocal secondments between the company and University staff, industrial placements for Masters students and long-term collaborative research.
Research projects are expected to focus on computational fluid dynamics that will model fluid flows around novel ship hull forms, as well as propeller and superstructure designs. The initiative will also give students the opportunity to get involved in research that will be applied to the design and production of next generation warships, such as the Type 26 combat ship being developed for the Royal Navy.
Alan Johnston, managing director of BAE Systems Surface Ships, said: “By forming mutually beneficial university partnerships, we can align the needs of both academia and industry and work together to safeguard the vital role of engineering and manufacturing within the UK economy.
“The collaboration will raise the profile of engineering and assist in securing a flow of fresh engineering talent, helping to tackle potential skills shortages. This will ensure that our business has the right skills set for the future to support our continued drive for innovation and engineering excellence.”
Professor Don Nutbeam, vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton, says: “This formal partnership marks the culmination of an existing relationship between the University and BAE Systems, which combines excellence in education, research and business.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop our long-established links in exciting new ways, enhancing Southampton’s reputation for world-leading engineering and creating an environment for co-operative research and education in the long-term.”
BAE Systems is one of the biggest UK supporters of education and skills, investing £50 million per annum to support its commitment to life-long learning. The company has links with approximately 100 universities globally through its university partnerships programme, with over 30 of these with UK institutions.